Law called the Hunger-Free Campus Grant bill (SB 767/HB 89) that is sponsored by Senator Mary Washington and Delegate Debra Davis. It was officially was passed by our House of Delegates and unanimously passed by the State Senate.
Law Creates Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program
The Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program was created by the legislation. It will be administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Moreover, the grants will go towards attempts to designate staff to connect eligible students with SNAP application assistance. As well as local SNAP retailers. Moreover, establishing a system for stigma-free access to community food resources. Thus raise awareness for food insecurity through campus events too, in fact, reduce stigma. To then create a meal plan swipe sharing program. It would allow students to donate the unused swipes to fellow students in need.
Food Insecurity, COVID-19 Pandemic
A Hope Center study, before the pandemic, found that of Maryland’s 167,000 two and four-year students. Moreover, 39% had experienced food insecurity in previous weeks. Those numbers worsened during COVID-19. In fact, rates of food insecurity had reached between 42% to 56% among students at two-year institutions. The percentage of 33% to 42% among those at a four-year institutions.
Barriers to Necessary Support Programs
“No longer turning a blind eye to college students is an important moment. That is to the barriers that face to getting critical support programs,” said Senator Mary Washington, the Senate champion for this bill. “At two- and four-year institutions, there are students that will continue to face pronounced levels of food insecurity. At this moment, it sets Maryland toward the path to creating hunger-free campuses throughout the state.”
“Our duty is to meet the basic needs of students. Moreover, this is very true at the state’s high education institutions. In fact, how can they excel both in the classroom and therefore once they do graduate,” said Delegate Debra Davis who sponsored the House companion bill.
“The Maryland General Assembly, by passing SB 767, is making a critical investment in our state’s academic and economic success.”
In October 2021, the new law will take effect. There is preliminary approval Maryland gave. This is for the State Fiscal 2023 Year Budget. It includes $150,000 for the Hunger-Free Campus program.